Characterization of the cis-regulatory regions governing ojoplano locus

  1. Gago Rodrigues, Ines
Supervised by:
  1. Juan Ramón Martínez Morales Director

Defence university: Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Fecha de defensa: 18 October 2013

  1. Paola Bovolenta Nicolao Chair
  2. Carolina Minguillón Gil Secretary
  3. Maria Leonor Tavares Saùde Committee member

Type: Thesis

Teseo: 349769 DIALNET lock_openTESEO editor


Characterization of the cis-regulatory regions governing ojoplano locus Ojoplano (opo) is a vertebrate-specific gene that was first identified in medaka fish as a recessive mutant, showing both neural crest defects and a failure of optic cup folding. In humans, this gene is associated with genetic diseases including hereditary craniofacial malformations and schizophrenia. It is localized in a 2Mb gene desert flanked by insulator sequences, between the genes SLC35B and TFAp2a. This region, syntenic between all vertebrates, represents only 2% of chromosome 6. However, it includes 23% of the all conserved cis-regulatory elements in this chromosome. Using transgenesis assays in zebrafish, we screened the enhancer activity of this locus and obtain a collection of nine enhancers. These regulatory elements were all conserved from human to teleosts and showed epigenetic marks for enhancer activity. We could associate multiple enhancers with ororfacial celfting disease and in order to explore the functionality of the enhancers, we performed a bioinformatics analysis to search for transcription factor bindings in the enhancer sequences. In terms of gene regulation we observe that H6:10137 opo enhancer has two Vsx2 binding sites and that this transcription factor regulates the expression of opo during eye development. Our findings suggest that the regulation of Vsx2 over opo is essential for optic cup folding. So far, there is no clear connection between optic cup patterning and morphogenesis. Vsx2 provides this link by controlling the expression of opo.